Combining Design and Technology: the Future of Strategic Thinking

Design thinking | 09 April 2015

Gone are the days when design and technology were considered dissimilar tools, used for different purposes: it was not uncommon to try solving a technology problem with more technology or trying to improve an experience by improving the devices. With the evolution of time, of technology and, specially, of the way of thinking, it became clear that design isn’t a mere tool of support for technology, but that the symbiosis of both disciplines is becoming more indispensable. Here, at Hi INTERACTIVE, we believe that design and technology must work as one single tool and, in this article, we substantiate our ideas so that you get to know a little bit more about this successful combination.

Changing the way of thinking: design as an integral part of the innovation process

The conventional mindset that has been deployed on the design market states that the strategy team defines a new strategy for the brand and the design team, following that same approach, must bring it to life: a new logo, a new colour scheme, a new website. In short, conventionally, design is taken as an external endorsement for the innovation and entrepreneurship processes, as described by Brian Chesky, co-founder of Airnb. At Hi INTERACTIVE, we also believe that the mindset can be innovated as well, based on the coexistence of both subjects, producing better results. What is, then, the future of strategic processes?

“There is an even deeper relationship between strategy and design, which produces more memorable, more significant results. Creative design isn’t an appendage of the brands’ strategies. Essentially, design is strategy and strategy is design.”
John Maeda, at The South by Southwest® 2015

The words of John Maeda, design partner at KPCB, in his lecture at SXSW, clearly abridge the future of thinking. In this new model, the designer is an active and essential part of innovation and entrepreneurship, instead of being a mere service provider.
Maeda, one of the main voices of design and technology in business, presents some claims on which he has based this prediction:  since 2010, 27 companies that were founded by designers were acquired by technology giants, such as Google, Facebook, Yahoo!, Adobe, Dropbox and LinkedIn. Amongst the companies that managed to raise more Venture Capital since 2013, more than 20% have designer co-founders. Airbnb’s case is just one of the many success cases.
Fab, Tumblr, Behance and Foodspotting are names that didn’t go unnoticed in the digital world and that were quickly acquired. That said, how is it, then, possible to achieve this kind of success?

Design Thinking

The answer is simple: Design Thinking. For many professional designers, this is not a new concept; but for entrepreneurs and people working in the business area, this might be a surprise. To apply this method, you must take five important steps:

1. Empathy. Empathy is the centre of all the human-centred design process. In this stage, it’s essential to observe the users and their behaviour as well as interact with them and ask them questions to gather feedback. For the process of design thinking to work properly, it is necessary to understand and to experiment the service from the user’s point of view.

​2. Defining. To create a strategy based on the users’ experience; using the empathetic discoveries to expose their needs and understanding the context of the problem that you are trying to solve.

3. Idealizing. After you define the goals, it is necessary to analyse the idea from various perspectives.

4. Prototyping. Prototypes are ideas that can be explored and tested, whether it is in a written context, and illustrated context or in a storyboard that you can interact with.

5. Testing. This is the phase where the design is perfected, based on the feedback given by the users that tested it.

It looks – and is – simple. But these practices are yet little divulged. To obtain success, it becomes clear that design must play an integral role on a company’s strategic thinking - and one of the advantages of design thinking is that it can be applied to different situations, instead of only being applied to the product definition process.
At Hi INTERACTIVE we are willing to do more than just improving the aesthetics of you technology: we are willing to design experiences. Give us a call.